Concepts & Programs HomeProgramsFocus Area 4: Modernization & TechnologyPart 5: AviationAviation Strategy

U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Sarah Horn, a pilot with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron (HMLA) 269 uses a tablet to mark friendly and enemy targets during an urban close air support exercise in Yodaville, Ariz., Sept. 30, 2016. This exercise was part of Weapons Tactics Instructors course (WTI) 1-17, a seven week event hosted by MAWTS-1 cadre which emphasizes operational integration of the six functions of Marine Corps aviation in support of a Marine Air Ground Task Force. MAWTS-1 provides standardized advanced tactical training and certification of unit instructor qualifications to support Marine aviation Training and Readiness and assists in developing and employing aviation weapons and tactics (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Andrew Huff, MAWTS-1 COMCAM)

U.S. Marine Corps Aviation Plan 2018 (11MB PDF)

Aviation creates decision space for operational commanders.

Marine aviation exists to provide the MAGTF commander the flexibility and agility to conduct that fight at the time, place, and manner of his choosing. Marine aviation supports the ground forces of the MAGTF by contributing to battlespace dominance through air operations and power projection. 

Priorities for the aviation Marine Corps are simple. First, we will prepare to deploy to combat, and focus on readiness for combat. Second, we will modernize our force with new aircraft and systems, continuing our in-stride rebuild, refit and reset of our force to put reliable aircraft on the line and on the flight deck. Concurrently with these two efforts, we will support the maintainers, those experts who make our squadrons operate, by providing them with the leadership, career paths, and incentives that keep them on our team in order to retain and leverage their unique skills. Finally, we will focus on MAGTF integration, providing the day and night assault support and tactical aviation to a combined-arms fight anywhere in the world. These priorities are the framework on which we will build tomorrow’s force.

Distributed operations allow the MAGTF to extend its operational reach and enable maneuver at longer ranges, potentially several hundred miles beyond the shore. Scalable, pre-planned force packages balance logistics, maintenance, and ordnance needs with lighter footprints and rapid response times. These can be tailored and used for any aircraft in the Marine Corps inventory, and will be enabled by dedicated support from the aviation ground support and command, control, and communication communities. The fifth-generation aviation combat element yields increased operational reach; increased capacity; reduced risk in anti-access/area denial environments; economy of force for major maneuver elements; flexibility; and strategic and operational surprise.

The Marine Aviation Plan is a companion document to Concepts and Programs: as an annual planning document, it is an iterative ten-year look at our plan to transition to new aircraft, keep legacy aircraft ready for combat, provide operational enablers and command and control, and build the healthy and effective maintenance base that makes this all happen. This document shows how we nest aviation missions and capabilities beneath the requirements in the MOC, and how we will continue to evolve the ACE – people, machinery, systems and processes – to better support the ground and joint force.